Hoist The Hangers!

The countdown is over, it’s time to Hoist The Hangers.

The first day of a new year seems like the perfect date to kick off  this project.

What is Hoist The Hangers you ask? Excellent question, dear reader. Hoist The Hangers (#hoistthehangers) is a focused plan to get rid of some of the excess stuff I’ve got hanging around.

The realisation that I’ve got too much stuff isn’t new, I’ve had a few clear-outs in the past couple of years, but there are still far too many clothes stuffed into my wardrobe, shoved in boxes under my bed and hanging on a sad little lopsided clothes rail in my storage room.


Time to actually hoist the hangers.

Step One – to literally hoist all of the clothes that I keep on hangers outside and on to my trusty Hills Hoist, so I could take a visual inventory.


2014-12-30 15.49.58

Oh my goodness, that’s a lot of hangers. I could not capture a shot of everything, there was just too much, and no wide-shot-assisting ladder on hand. I tried climbing the fence, but didn’t want to have to change the post title to ‘hoist the sling’.

That my friends, is every item of clothing that I usually keep on a hanger, weighing down my clothesline in a quite worrisome manner.

Actually, it’s not every stitch of usually hangered clothing, as there was stuff in my laundry basket and a few things thrown on a chair in my bedroom when I hoisted, but this is practically all of it.

It took me about an hour to #hoistthehangers , and I think I developed a very effective and soon-to-be patented upper arm workout while I was at it. Feel the burn – hoist, hoist! (DVD available for pre-order shortly.)

Once I had everything out on the Hills Hoist (sorry Hilly), which meant hangers were strung and straining on every line from the outside to the usually neglected inner line, and on the rods, I decided to count up what I had. Here’s the tally (deep breath):

12 pairs of pants (not including jeans)

52 assorted tops – from basic tees to fancy-pants tunics (yes, you read that correctly, 52!)

5 dresses

20 cardigans and/or jackets (When does a cardigan become a jacket? Is it about length, material or cut? So many questions.)

5 hoodies (I seem to have picked up 3 in the same style, in various colours. I never wear those ones.)

5 skirts

That’s a staggering 99 items! What the what now? (Can someone make the appropriate Jay-Z joke here, I can’t get it to work properly. Leave it in the comments, please!)

For me, having 99 pieces of clothing is utterly excessive. I’m a favourites girl, I reach for my trusty go-to items, the things I wear over and over, which means the majority of those 99 items hardly ever see the light of day.

It’s high time they came out of the closet – for good!

Without a word of a lie, I pulled things out of my wardrobe that I had entirely forgotten I owned. I pulled out items I don’t like, that don’t look good on me, that are only hanging in there because they were given to me, and things I no longer wear but which I’ve steadfastly hung on to for years (actual human years – thousands of days!). I rediscovered things I do like but hadn’t seen for a while, old favourites, and things that have seen better days, but are still hanging in there, for no good reason.

The point of Hoist The Hangers wasn’t just to weigh my Hills Hoist down, almost to breaking point. That was merely step one.

I was hoping seeing all of it at once would stun me, and it really did.

So many clothes, flapping in the summer breeze. Sheesh.

What I want #hoistthehangers to be is a process of paring back, and an examination of why I’ve been hanging on to so much stuff.

Over the next four weeks (or however long it takes) I’m going to post at least a weekly Hoist The Hangers update  – from sorting to ditching (which will include donating), to what I discover as I discard stuff that’s just taking up space, to the battle to let go of that ‘just in case’ thing, and I’ll be answering the greatest mystery of all: what the heck is stashed under my bed? Dust masks at the ready!

2014-12-31 16.17.27I hope you’ll come back and see how I’m progressing with Hoist The Hangers, I may need some encouragement not to just shove it all back in the wardrobe and pretend I never took step one of the hoisting process.

Aside from the spatial benefits I’ll gain, I’m hoping that hoisting the hangers will shed some light on what’s behind the keeping of all the stuff, and what it feels like to let it go. And it’s not just about clothes on hangers, not on your Nellie (poor lass), but that’s where I’m starting. You never know, this might even prompt a hoisting revolution. (Look, a girl can dream can’t she?)

For now, I think I’m going to go and give my Hills Hoist a hug, I really gave it a workout!

Yours in hoisting,



PS Feel free to share your stories about clear-outs, clean-ups, minimalism vs  maximalism (Is that a thing? Should it be maxing out?), culling and curating in the comments. We’re in this together!







43 thoughts on “Hoist The Hangers!

  1. What a fabulous, wonderful post.

    I’m between houses at the moment. Mainly moved in to the new house but I have so very, very much STUFF to sort through and throw out at the old house. I’ve set aside 1 & 2 jan to do it. I am dreading it because I struggle to throw things away.

    Or should I say I *was* dreading it. Reading your post has released some of my dread. I’m feeling calmer already and am now ready to actually throw it away rather than just moving the mess to the new place.

    I think the visual prompts really help in showing the progress.

    Thanks Annette. I can’t wait to see how your series goes! 🙂


    • Oh I’m so glad you’ve cast aside some of that stuff ditching dread!

      Much better to move it on out, rather than take it with you and try and find space for it in your new home.

      Thanks Liz, I’m super jazzed that you liked it! Hoist away!!

      Good luck with your sorting. Keep me updated.


  2. Fabulous idea! My washing line is not so strong as yours and would definitely buckle under the weight… As I was reading I was wondering if I would reach 99 items -and I’m pretty sure I would. I fold a LOT of my clothes, including around 30 black t-shirts (yes, really?!) so between the hanging shirts, skirts and dresses and the folded jumpers, t-shirts, vests and trousers I’d DEFINITELY hit more than 99. There’s also that big pile of running clothes that hasn’t seen the light of day in over 5 years!! I’m very interested to watch how you progress and might well join you if I can overcome that “but it might be useful” thing I’ve got going……


    • Hey Jo, the 99 was achieved without counting ANYTHING that’s folded. It could easily be two hundo items if I count everything. Yowsers.

      I’m sure we can at least slightly dislodge the “just in case/might be useful” thing – at least to get you down to 24 black tees!

      Hoist yourself up on to the #hoistthehangers train my friend!


      • By golly, I think I will! Mind you, the “it might be useful” thing is pretty ingrained…. I did start a sort out last year but it all just made it into a big box which, surprise, surprise is back in the wardrobe!! Let 2015 be the year of change!


  3. Way to go Hun for taking the leap and throwing yourself into this with gusto. I regularly keep check of things through the year and do clear outs, but I’ll be popping in to see how you’re getting on with this whole process. Wishing you the happiest 2015.


    • I think there’s clothes breeding wu wu in my wardrobe Trudie! I have done a few clear outs in the past 18 months, but still there’s quite a bit of stuff that’s got to go! Thanks for cheering me on, I’ll need it!


  4. Great idea and post Annette. I have been doing lots of ditching in the last week, and it feels great. I would be a bit nervous about stocktaking how many items I have though. Actually that is scary to me! It’s like as long as they fit in my wardrobe it’s ok. Your post has made me reflect on why I am holding onto some of my clothes though. Eg the bra I wore when I got married, that doesn’t fit and even if it did I wouldn’t wear it, the only thing I’ve ever knitted, beautiful but HUGE and ITCHY ! I’ll be following to see how you go and no doubt getting more inspiration, I may even do a figurative hoisting ( no hills hoist here). Happy hoisting ( and ditching!).


    • Hoist away Emily! I think it’s a really important question – why do we hold on to stuff, especially if the stuff is stuffed in wardrobes or attics or under the bed. I’m determined to pare back and start a hangers shop with my newly available supply!!


  5. I think it’s great that you’re not just looking to clean out but into the why of why we hold on to things in the first place. I think that’s an important part of being successful in leaning down possessions.
    We’re not minimalist but we are compared to a lot of other people. I currently have 15 things on hangers, including my wedding dresses and cleaned another half garbage bag out of my drawers to go back to the op-shop yesterday. It always feels better to unburden myself of stuff!
    Good luck x


    • That’s so inspiring Lila – 15 hangers!!
      And I totally agree about how good it feels to unburden yourself of “stuff”.
      I want to really cut back, I’m not sure I’ll get down to 15 – but it certainly is doable to live with much less isn’t it?
      The why will be interesting to explore.


  6. I have a jacket I purchased in China with my mum after my first marriage broke down. I have never worn it, never will but I cannot let it go. It represents a possession of mine after my ex took everything but this post has made me rethink things. I’m holidaying in January but will definitely look in February at what can go. Good luck and I look forward to watching x


    • Hey Anna, I think keepsakes/talismans of big events can be good, if they bring us good energy. Even if it stays in the wardrobe, it’s good to ponder these things isn’t it? I look forward to sharing the ups and downs of culling my way through my #99hangers. Happy New Year Anna x


  7. I went through a similar process a while back and then I implemented the rule that for every new item that entered my wardrobe, one had to be given, donated, thrown away. It works if I stick with it. I also live by Nikki Parkinson’s seasonal wardrobe audits.


  8. Oh, what a wonderful project. I’ve been going through a similar process since coming home from travels (warning…it becomes an ongoing project and way of life. Once you start there’s no going back). I was inspired after reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It helped change my perceptions of value. Happy clearing


  9. What an awesome way to clean out! I did my wardrobe just a little while ago. My moment of realising I had WAY too much stuff was when I did Frocktober and realised I had well over 30 dresses. Good luck with the wardrobe purification process!


    • Thanks Robyna, I think it is a great way to start the year. Clear out, form some new habits.
      Oh, fun fact – you’ve got at least three more dresses than Katherine Heigl had in the aptly named “27 Dresses”!


  10. Great stuff! I always feel so much better, lighter, and more organised when I do this. I have been slowly plodding my way through and doing regular dumping visits to the op shop but need to keep it up. Good luck!! x


  11. Now I know what you planned! What a visual that created. I get why you did this & am very in tune! I’ve packed quite a lot of my clothes now for our house move & have about 20 hangers with stuff left here. When I’m re-organising clothes now in my next place – with far less wardrobe space than I have now- I think I will be ready to cull ! Will be awaiting your updates! Cheers Denyse


    • Hey Denyse I’m glad it made sense, it was actually a lot of fun to come up with the idea. I’m going to break it down and look through ALL the stuff a bit at a time. Better stock up on garbage bags!


  12. Oh Annette this is fabulous! Made me giggle, your wonderful way with words. Words aside, this is a top idea. I don’t own a washing line, but I could perhaps try something similar. It’s the de-cluttering that counts yes?


  13. So after thinking about your post, today I quickly counted my hangers.
    143, wow!, that’s a lot and now I will think about why and read your future posts with interest . I think I need to!


    • 143 – impressive! I guess some of it is about how much of what we have gets used – for me, there’s a lot that I don’t wear, so it seems crazy to hold on to it.
      Stay tuned!!


  14. Woohoo! Way to go Annette. I had a partial clean out a few months ago and the resulting Op Shop pile, stood taller than I did! I then instigated the one new item, ditch an old item. Failing miserably. Time for another clean out, me thinks.


  15. Wow! I love your way of thinking with this, and the visual of all those items on the line is… breathtaking!

    I read a blog called thedailyconisseur.com where Jennifer proposes the idea of a 10 item wardrobe each season. Definitely worth a read, even if you don’t go the whole way with her theory/process.

    My family moved house on average very 2 years when I was growing up. As a result we often purged things that were no longer used or loved. I guess I’ve become accustomed to the process. However, we’re going through our office come junk room at the moment and I’m finding it more difficult than usual. I guess I have some stuff to face in there 🙂


    • Hey Michelle, thanks for reading and commenting. It was a pretty breathtaking sight – gulp!!
      We hold on to stuff for such strange reasons… I know I’ll struggle with logic vs emotions as I purge stuff. I don’t need so much of what I hold on to.
      Those office/junk rooms can be dangerous! Put some great music on and get stuck into it.


  16. This is fantastic! I love the way you physically take everything out of your wardrobe so you can actually see it all in one go – the certainly puts things into perspective. If I did the same thing to my clothesline, I think it would collapse, partly because I have a lot of clothes but mostly because it’s not the best clothesline in the world.

    I’m like you: I have favourites and I stick with them. So why do I even bother keeping things in my wardrobe (wardrobes, shhh!) if I don’t wear them? Or they don’t fit? Or they’re not really flattering but I like to keep them because it’s nice to look at them and imagine how they’d look on me if they were flattering?

    So even though I don’t dare risk my clothesline, you’ve inspired me to do something similar. Thanks!


    • Hey Katie, maybe your clothesline could cope with sections? All your dresses, then tops, skirts etc. There’s definitely something about seeing it which showed me without a doubt that there’s TOO MUCH STUFF!
      Thanks for popping in, it really makes my day when someone gets something from the Verbs. Good luck with your wardrobe cull – if you’re on social media, you can always join in with #hoistthehangers.


  17. Yikes! That is a lot of “stuff” and what a great idea to hang it like that. It has made me wonder about how many things I have got hanging in space and gathering dust. I tend to have clean outs a lot but things must breed in that wardrobe. I am like you in that I have a few favourites that I love and wear a lot. Thanks for inspiring me to have a clean out too.
    Good luck with your sorting, culling, chucking and donating-you’ll be a new woman:) xx


    • That’s a good start Nicole – acknowledge the issue! And f you use a lot of what you’ve got, that’s a good thing.

      How about the nothing new in unless something leaves rule?

      I’m available for house calls.


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